Driverless trucks start test runs on Southwestern Interstate highways

❝ The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday started a two-week test transporting mail across three Southwestern states using self-driving trucks, a step forward in the effort to commercialize autonomous vehicle technology for hauling freight.

San Diego-based startup TuSimple said its self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities in Phoenix and Dallas to see how the nascent technology might improve delivery times and costs. A safety driver will sit behind the wheel to intervene if necessary and an engineer will ride in the passenger seat.

❝ If successful, it would mark an achievement for the autonomous driving industry and a possible solution to the driver shortage and regulatory constraints faced by freight haulers across the country.

The plan is to have these trucks on the road 22 hours at a time. Not exactly something human drivers are up for. Since long-haul runs are literally short thousands of drivers, timing couldn’t be better. If everything works OK? 🙂

“The future is Asian” – for anyone interested in trade, economics, global progress…

…Which is why I’ve been a student of economics, economic history, for sixty years.

I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t yet read anything of Parag Khanna’s published work. Catching this 2-segment interview with Mike Walters is changing that. Getting a couple of his books from Amazon.

Economics is rarely my favorite area of science. It can be dull. Khanna’s ability to communicate on the topic in understandable English is impressive. I hope his writing is in the same vein. Meanwhile, I offer these to folks who enjoy looking beyond the narrow alleyway of typical network communications .

What I miss most about New England

Click to enlargeGiles Christopher

Growing up in a small New England city, a coastal city, a factory town, you never lacked animal protein if you were ready and able to fish. I always joke about how many recipes my mother created for flatfish – when they were in season for months at a time. For snapper blues – when they were in season for months at a time. Eating fish 4, 5, 6 days a week, suppertime and maybe lunch, too, was pretty monocultural.

My father, my sister and I would rise, have breakfast and start walking by 4:00 AM on a Saturday morning. Buses didn’t start running till about 5:30 AM. We wouldn’t have been fishing till well after sunrise and the couple of hours bracketing sunrise often was a great time to start. There was a fishing pier we populated with dozens more folks on summer mornings. Fewer would walk and scramble the additional mile to get to the end of the breakwater at the harbor entrance. Especially in Fall and Winter. That’s when we caught flatfish, frostfish, the occasional blackfish.

We’d fish till we had an egg basket full. About 30 to 50 fish depending on their size. They weren’t all good days; but, when fish were running, whatever species, we’d catch enough to feed our family of four healthy nutrition for the week. If they weren’t running enough, then, we’d just leave in time to catch a bus back on the main road around the harbor – transfer once to get home to the East End in time for lunch.

Even with clean, fresh fish, once folks on the bus figured out what filled our basket, we usually had plenty of room wherever we chose to sit. Most often, the back of the bus. Out of the way.

Oh, the mussels up top. I love mussels. Fishing Fall and Winter, mostly for flatfish, we dug our own bait. Sandworms almost exclusively. Usually on the way back in to catch the bus home from Saturday morning fishing. If the tide was low, the digging was easy. And the deeply exposed boulders of the harbor breakwater would be covered with mussels. I’d peel off a couple of quarts for my mom to steam and serve with garlic, olive oil and rosemary for supper that night or maybe with pasta, Sunday, mid-day. That’s what I miss the most.

Small home — Japanese style

Ququri living space – loft viewRyusei Takahashi

❝ When it comes to downsized living, Tokyo has it all. From capsule hotels and compact prefabs to communal share houses, land scarcity and high property prices have pushed realtors and architects to work with limited space, resulting in tiny homes and rabbit-hole apartments cluttering the capital’s neighborhoods…

❝ There’s now a booming market for cleverly designed small apartments targeting young professionals who are happy to forgo floor space in exchange for affordable rent and inner city convenience. And in the age of Marie Kondo, there seems to be a minimalist appeal to these intricately designed studios

❝ Property, for example…designed and managed by Spilytus Co., whose Ququri series of tiny apartments have been spearheading the trend for smaller accommodations. Boasting a 99 percent occupancy rate, the company has been rapidly growing since its founding in 2012 and has seen annual revenue top ¥3 billion.

Typically comprised of 20 or so single rooms with lofts, Spilytus has built around 70 of these two-story apartments in Tokyo’s 23 wards so far. To prevent other firms from emulating its design, the firm acquired a patent last year for its method of arranging as many small dwelling units it can — ranging in size from 9 to 13 square meters — in an apartment building on a single plot of land.

Long, long ago, I was part of discussions among young poets, musicians, other artists, about what sort of minimal quarters would be satisfactory for individuals like us and our peers. We never moved ahead to discussion of more communal requirements, say, for couples and families. We got down to apartments this size in concept. But, we thought, we hoped, there could be some political resolution leading to starter dwellings – if not subsidized at least constructed at scale to keep them affordable for young individuals needing a home in a new city, seeking a career.

Fat chance.

The Fake President Called Former President Jimmy Carter To Talk About China

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

❝ President Trump called former President Jimmy Carter for the first time…[weekend of April 13/14]

❝ Earlier this year, Carter sent Trump a letter with some advice about managing the U.S.-China relationship. Carter oversaw the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries 40 years ago.

On Saturday evening, Trump called Carter to talk about it. It was the first time they’d spoken, Carter said. He said Trump told him that he is particularly concerned about how China is “getting ahead of us…”

❝ Carter said he agreed with Trump on this issue.

“And do you know why?” Carter said. “I normalized diplomatic relations with China in 1979. Since 1979, do you know how many times China has been at war with anybody? None. And we have stayed at war,” he said…

❝ Carter said the United States is “the most warlike nation in the history of the world” due to a desire to impose American values on other countries, and he suggested that China is investing its resources into projects such as high-speed railroads instead of defense spending.

If you read up on uses for a national military, China follows an old model where the military is truly constituted for national service. That primarily means damage control and service to communities hit by natural disasters. Enough of those to go around to keep any standing forces occupied. Plus actual defense.

The wasted money in some quarters is viewed as production of non-consumable goods to aid our economy. A subsidy without calling it such. The Cold War took care of motivation for politicians who got subsidized industries and employment in their districts. Little or no inflation resulted from the subsidies because consumer goods don’t really include tanks or aircraft carriers.